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Editorial: Dengue; here and in Delhi

Sep 3 (DM) The poses by certain politicians and spouses at the recent gala anti-dengue fumigating ceremonies surely can give Terminator star turned California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger a run for his money. Gone are the days that the pot-bellied Sri Lankan politicians found it quite fashionable to go bare-bodied at the historic Nallur Kovil in Jaffna to make it to the page one of the national newspapers. more..

President tells 59th SLFP Anniversary: Changes strengthen democracy

Sep 3 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the 59th anniversary meeting of the SLFP yesterday that accelerated development, a stable Government, strengthening democracy, peace and prosperity in line with people’s expectations were the aims of the envisaged constitutional amendments and not the extension of his term in office. Addressing over 15,000, more..

SPC violated FM directives - AG

Sep 3 (Island) The AG cited four main violations, including payment of SPC employees’ PAYE tax in violation of a specific Finance Ministry circular PF/PE/6. According to the AG’s report dealing with 2008, the SPC has paid PAYE tax amounting to Rs. 5,422,906. The other violations are: exceeding the ceiling on loans by Rs 1,196,234,053 and paying bonuses (Rs 24,069,123), attendance allowance (Rs 10,383,191), Medical facilities (Rs 10,953,534) and welfare (Rs 25,292,481). more..

Editorial: The abolition of term-limit

Sep 3 (LNP) The UNP has decided to oppose the proposed constitutional amendments in Parliament. Its consternation is understandable. It feels cheated. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had talks with it for a few weeks before springing a surprise by winning over one of its coalition partners, the SLMC. It was nothing but a repeat of what he had done in 2006, when he engineered defections from the UNP while having talks with it. more..

Tamil Forum discusses issues with Rao

Sep 3 (DM) The Forum of Tamil Parties, comprising government allies such as the EPDP and the TMVP, asked Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to prevail upon the Sri Lankan government to engage the elected representatives of the Northern and Eastern Provinces in the resettlement and rehabilitation work. The Forum, comprising ten parties, held an hour-long meeting with Mrs. Rao and discussed its 12- point demands. more..

'Decrease in dengue not due to Ministry efforts but due to PHIs, CMC volunteers'

Sep 3 (Island) The Colombo Municipal Council said the Health Ministry had not gone ahead with the application of Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis (brand named Bakto) in Mattakkuliya, ‘Kimbula Ela,’ although they had retained the mosquito breeding waterways for the initiation of the pilot project in the area. Instead, the Public Health Department of the CMC had to use imported BTI from their stock to more..

Trade union leaders discuss forming alliance to fight for pay hikes

Sep 3 (SL) The National Trade Union Center (NTUC) is to commence discussions today (2) with other trade unions with regard to the action to be taken to win the demand of salary increments for the working masses. A senior NTUC member said that the first discussion with other trade unions would be held in the afternoon today. He said the NTUC would discuss and launch a combined trade union action to win the Rs. 8,000 salary increment for more..

Nurses Union warns of strike if their issues not resolved

Sep 3 (Island) The All Ceylon Nurses Union warned that they would launch a strike at the end of the month if the Health Ministry did not take action to resolve several of their issues. Assistant Secretary ACNU, Anura Jayamana said yesterday (02) that the main issue in their profession was the salary and the duration of the nursing degree which was reduced from four years to three. more..

Why removing Presidential term limits is wrong

Sep 3 (DM) The Opposition has failed to give a simple answer to the above question, seeking instead to play word games (Executive Prime Minister versus Executive President). Government spokespersons have given a simple enough, though false, answer term limits constrain the power of the people to elect whoever they want. Given the dominance of feudal mindsets this seems to have decided the matter. more..

Indian Army Chief to pay five-day visit to Sri Lanka

Sep 3 (PTI) Seeking to give a fillip to bilateral military ties, army chief General VK Singh is set to undertake a five-day visit to Sri Lanka from Sunday to discuss defence cooperation. During his visit, Singh is scheduled to meet Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, his Sri Lankan counterpart Jagath Jayasuriya and other senior defence officials. The Indian Army Chief, who was awarded the 'Yudh Sena Medal' for more..

JVP to distribute 2 mn leaflets against proposed 18-A

Sep 3 (Island) The JVP yesterday launched a campaign to educate the public on what it called the dangers of proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which envisages far reaching constitutional changes to strengthen the hand of incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The party would distribute two million leaflets in Colombo and the provinces as part of its overall campaign against the government’s move. more..

'18th Amendment will leave Public Servants at President’s mercy'

Sep 3 (Island) Instead of implementing the 17th Amendment that would have given public servants the badly needed protection they require, public servants are tied to trees and abused by members of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. Hee said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proposed 18th Amendment has sought to deny the protection that the Public Service Commission, more..

Another UNP MP supports amendments

Sep 3 (SL) UNP’s Galle District MP Manusha Nanayakkara said today (3) that he would vote in favor of the constitutional amendments in parliament next week. Nanayakkara told a press conference in Colombo that he would vote with the government on the constitutional amendments. UNP Badulla District MP Lakshman Seneviratne announced in the morning the he would be voting in support of the constitutional amendments. more..

'Reforms not dangerous as shown by Opposition'

Sep 3 (DM) The proposed Constitutional Amendment is brought not just to have the Presidential term extended as claimed by the UNP but to remove the obstacles that prevent a person who held Presidency for two terms from contesting again, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday. The President was speaking at the 59th National Convention of SLFP at Temple Trees where the party endorsed the proposed constitutional reforms. more..

Controversial 18th Amendment: All day debate on September 8

Sep 3 (DM) Parliament will have a full day’s debate on the controversial 18th Amendment to the Constitution from 9.30 am to 7.00 pm on September 8. The decision was taken at the party leaders’ meeting held in the parliamentary complex with Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa in the chair yesterday. The ruling UPFA wanted to allocate only one day for the debate. However, the main opposition UNP asked the government to increase the number of hours more..

Sri Lanka India coal plant, no firm date yet: minister

Sep 4 (LBO) A starting date for a joint venture India Sri Lanka coal power station has still not been set, but it will be last coal plant that the government will approve, Sri Lanka's energy minister Patali Ranawaka said. "It is in the feasibility study stage," he said. Minister Ranawaka said there was no date yet set to start the plant but the 500 MegaWatt plant to be sited on Sri Lanka's east coast was expected to come on stream in 2017. more..

No confidence motion on Minister G.L. Peiris

Sep 4 (DM) The UNP today handed over a no-confidence motion to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa against External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris for what the party termed as his failure in handling international affairs. The motion was signed by UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, MPs Ravi Karunanayake, Lakshman Kiriella, John Amaratunga and Wijeyadasa Rajapakse. Mr. Karunanayake said this was solely an initiative by the UNP, and more..

'JVP unconditionally opposes the amendment'

Sep 4 (LT) The JVP unconditionally opposes the proposed constitutional amendment says the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. He said this at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP today. Mr. Amarasinghe said, “The Constitution is the highest document in a country. Masses should pay attention to changing even one letter of the Constitution. There should be enough time for the people to discuss it. more..

Second court martial against former Army commander reconvenes today

Sep 4 (NF) The second court martial against former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka is to reconvene at 2 this afternoon. “Charges against the former Army commander in relation to deviating from the accepted protocol when procuring weapons for the military will be examined when it reconvenes,” said Major General Ubhaya Madawela, military spokesperson. He noted that the witnesses of the respondent will be called up for the first time today. more..

‘Left’ parties take final decision on 6th - Vasu

Sep 4 (LT) The left parties in the UPFA would take their final decision regarding the proposed constitutional amendment on the 6th says General Secretary of the Democratic Left Front Vasudeva Nanayakkara. He said the discussion held yesterday to come to a consensus among the left parties ended without any agreement. Hence, they have decided to meet again on the 6th and the decision taken then would be a collective one said Mr. Nanayakkara.

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 03. 09. 2010

A Vote for 18 Amendment is Vote to Strangulate Liberty

Sep 4 (LG) Even the former commander of the armed forces is learning that only freedom left for his family came from the Green Card. The man who gave 40 best years of his life to fight for his country and who even led the armed forces through a bitter war is learning that even for his family, like to many thousand others who had to flee their country, even the last bit of freedom left is a Green Card or a Visa which allows from their families to live outside Sri Lanka. more..

The Follies of ex-ambassadors,media misreporting and lessions of our times

Sep 4 (LG) While people are going before the Lessons Learnt Commission, expecting reconciliation and lessons to be learnt, the government merrily goes ahead with its hugely undemocratic constitutional reforms. The only noticeable impact of the Commission’s sittings up to now has been to destroy the public credibility of witnesses like Amb. Jayantha Dhanapala as evidenced in the hot air created over Amb. Dhanapala’s statements before the Commission last week when more..

'UNP must lead the people towards correct direction'

Sep 4 (LG) He was born on 17th March 1974 at Matara, the southern part of Sri Lanka and later became a journalist which is how people got to know about him. Now this young gentleman is a Member of Parliament of the main opposition party in Sri Lanka. Budhdhika Pathirana, the young political star who is on a controversial political mission in Sri Lanka today, shared his political thoughts more..

Tamils in the North-East and the Rajapakse Regime

Sep 4 (LG) It is fifteen long months since “the internal War” against the LTTE was successfully brought to close. Some sections of the global media make the erroneous distinction the war was against the Tamils in the North-East. In the days, weeks and months following the ending of the conflict President Rajapakse and his brothers – Gothabaya, the Defence Secretary and Basil, the senior Minister now – made many high profile announcements the North-East will see more..

The General's daughter speaks out

Sep 4 (LG) Apsara Fonseka,. the eldest daughter of the former commander of the victorious Sri Lanka army, General Sarath Fonseka, was in Los Angeles rallying the commander’s supporters to a movement to get him free from government detention. The former General (retired) was jailed after he provoked the government by contesting the President of Sri Lanka unsuccessfully at the last elections, the protesters charged. more..

Much More Mahinda

Sep 4 (SL) Mahinda has got a two thirds majority in Parliament and is using it to extend his term. This is not because he was necessarily so powerful, it was more because the opposition was so weak. Mahinda told Ranil that he was going for an Executive Prime Ministership, invited Ranil to Temple Trees, gave him a new car, visited Ranil’s mother in hospital. Then he turned around and stole two Tamil MPs (got them to cross). more..

Structural changes at Sri Lanka Tourism

Sep 4 (N360) Sri Lanka Tourism has brought in structural changes to the organization through internal transfers of key executives. Accordingly Dilip Mudadeniya who was the Managing Director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau has been placed as the Head of Special Projects. Mudadeniya now operates from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority following his latest appointment, which is a newly designed post. more..

Sri Lanka's most war-affected community

Sep 4 (Himal) S Thavaratnam, chairman of the Jaffna District Fishermen’s Cooperative Society Unions Federation, played a significant role in unionising fishermen in northern Sri Lanka, starting in the mid-1970s. At that time, small unions were established in every fishing village across the Northern Province. As the civil war took hold, however, communication across villages became difficult and the federation was disrupted, and more..

Karunaratne stars in Sri Lanka A win

Sep 4 (CI) Dimuth Karunaratne's maiden one-day hundred and a little help from Duckworth-Lewis saw Sri Lanka A beat Pakistan A by seven runs at the P Sara Oval on Thursday. With two overs remaining, Sri Lanka still needed four runs to win with its number ten and eleven at the wicket, but bad light forced play to be called off. The resulting D/L calculations gave the hosts their first win in the triangular series, which also features South Africa A. more..

What lessons are we learning? Why only CFA? Why no talk of P-toms?

Sep 4 (DM) Considering the massive feedback on last week's column on "Will the Real Authors of the CFA please stand up?",it is easy to conclude that the Cease Fire Agreement had been a thorn in our collective sides for a very long time! The responses indicated that the general public had a collective sick-in-the-stomach feeling about the CFA, since most people who called, used the word 'nauseous' when describing the actions of the then govt's 'bending backwards to please /appease the LTTE' policy. more..

Win-win-win and lose-lose-lose

Sep 4 (DM) My dear Mahinda Aiya, Ayubowan, vanakkam and assalamu alaikkum as the Ruling Elite goes ahead with the win-win-win fallacy in making major constitutional changes on an arbitrary and urgent basis. According to most independent political observers and analysts it appears that the country is being pulled back to what was done in 1977 and its devastating consequences with little or no concern for learning from experiences though a Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission is in operation. more..

Sri Lanka war crimes panel gets lost in translation

Sep 4 (BBC) A key witness at the commission set up to examine the final phase of Sri Lanka's civil war has complained his words were not properly translated. Douglas Devananda, a cabinet minister and ex-Tamil militant, gave a three-hour testimony in the Tamil language. But he stopped several times to dispute English translations by an interpreter, who looked tired and stressed. more..

Devolution: A Sinhalese political parachute

Sep 4 (LG) In the early 1950s the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) launched the first and only non-violent movement to date to achieve internal de-colonisation through devolution of power. The party sought to mimic the essentials of the Indian model of linguistic states that contributed to partial democratisation; so it proposed similar devolution to future Tamil and Sinhalese linguistic states to introduce a democratic federal system of government in Sri Lanka. more..

Standing up against the 18th Constitutional Amendment is our democratic duty

Sep 4 (TC) Politics is about power and the constitution is about protection of the people against the excessive concentration and exercise of that power. Politicians need power to govern and people need government to establish the framework, which facilitates the exercise and enjoyment of their fundamental rights and freedoms. Whilst it may well be a done deal by the time this gets into print, it is worth still raising the question of as to whether the 18th Amendment to more..

Domestic Violence Perceptions

SriLankan Airlines to resume floatplane service, expand fleet

Sep 4 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines, Sri Lanka's state-run national said it will acquire two floatplanes to re-start domestic air services later this year and also buy five short haul Airbus A320 aircraft next year as it looked to fly new routes. SriLankan said it will acquire two De Havilland Canada Twin Otter floatplanes to "more than a dozen" domestic destinations including Colombo. The airline will acquire five new Airbus A320 aircraft. more..

'Domestic banks give State Rs. 120bn in new loans, private sector gets Rs. 37bn'

Sep 4 (Island) The Monetary Board of the Central Bank last month cut the reverse repurchase rate applicable to commercial bank overnight borrowings from the monetary authority from 9.25 percent to 9 percent in a bid to reducing commercial lending rates and reducing the high interest rate spreads of commercial banks, a move money market dealers had been anticipating for weeks. Despite the reduction in the policy rate, more..

Christianity made major contribution to education - President

Sep 4 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that Christianity has made a major contribution to education, and spiritual and moral enhancement of Sri Lankan society during the last 500 years, when the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments in the Vatican His Eminence Antonio Cardinal Canizares called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees, Thursday. more..

Sirasa TV begins 'Who wants to be a millionaire'

Sep 4 (NF) Sirasa TV is ready to make yet another revolutionary change in the television industry. Sirasa will produce the world’s most popular reality TV game show: 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,' as 'Obada Lakshapathi Mamada Lakshapathi'. For the first time in Sri Lanka, a franchise show is being produced, setting a new record in the local television industry. In the first 9 days, Sirasa TV will launch a challenge worth 18 million rupees for the viewers’ knowledge. more..

The need for a well conceived National Policy in Education

Sep 4 (Island) The second key element is the broadening and diversification of post secondary level of education, so that it may serve effectively the needs of the country. The educational system in accused of all positive evils, and is loosing its high priority in the allocation of public resources. Finally, the country seems less and less able to meet all the educational demands, private education is expanding and new reforms of education, outside the existing system are emerging everywhere. more..

UNP to apprise Mahanayakes of the impending dangers

Sep 4 (DM) UNP MP Ruwan Wijewardene said yesterday his party leaders would call on the Mahanayake Theras of the three Nikayas to apprise them of the dangers of the proposed constitutional amendments. He said leaders of opposition political parties would meet on Monday to discuss these matters. We will oppose these amendments in parliament. We will educate the people about the dangers involved,” he said. more..

'Renewable energy sources necessary'

Sep 4 (DN) Diverting to renewable energy sources is necessary to ensure the well being of the future generation, said Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. He was addressing a ceremony to commission a Grid Connected Solar System at the Lanka ORIX Leasing Company Thursday. “World oil reserves are expected to be exhausted in another 40 to 50 years. We must strengthen our renewable energy sources in preparation for this condition. more..

Pension scheme for fishermen

Sep 4 (DN) The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry will launch a new pension scheme of Rs 7,000 a month for fishermen, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said after an inspection tour in the Galle District recently. There are 4,688 fishing families and 6,171 fishing technicians in the Galle district. Accordingly the fishing population in the Galle district is 21,193. There are nine fisheries harbours and anchoring stations in Galle. more..

Fonseka is sick, court martial put off

Sep 4 (DM) The second General Court Martial hearing was further postponed as former Army Commander and MP Sarath Fonseka is still sick. His escorting officer informed the tribunal that Mr. Fonseka was not fit enough to attend the court martial sessions where he stands accused of contravening military procurement procedure when he was Army Commander. The GCM was told that the Army Medical officer who had more..

They all fly over a dead goat’s head

Sep 4 (Island) It was not so long ago, during the recent General Election, that goats in Sri Lanka enjoyed an abundance of food. Compelled to roam the streets to seek their own food, they had a whale of a time on a largely political diet. The massive flood of posters that plastered every wall and almost every tree, despite warnings from the Commissioner of Elections and thanks to the political blindness and inefficiency of the police, made sure that more..

SLMC backing for 18th Amendment based on pragmatic approach – Hakeem

Sep 4 (Island) The SLMC decided to back proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution, because it felt a pragmatic approach was required in the present context, its leader Rauff Hakeem said. Asked as to what made the SLMC change its opposition to the Continuation of the Executive Presidency, which it had campaigned for, as a constituent member of the UNF, Hakeem said "it was because we felt a pragmatic approach was required in the present context, the country is in." more..

Sri Lanka port nearing maximum capacity

Sep 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka Colombo port is nearing its maximum capacity ahead of forecasts owing to a rapid growth in cargo volumes, the head of the state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority said. SLPA chairman Priyath Wickrama said the authorities were getting new equipment and revamping terminal operations to get more out of existing facilities until a new prot under construction became operational. more..

Editorial: Harry Potters at Analyst`s Dept.

Sep 4 (LNP) The rapid deterioration of law and order situation has provoked a public outcry. Now that the war is over, people demand that the rule of law be restored as a national priority. But, the underworld is far from crushed, though a notorious criminal dies once in a way at the hands of `unidentified gunmen`. The police have drawn a great deal of flak for their inefficiency, corruption and inaction. more..

Fishermen relieved of catch, cellphones by Lankan Navy

Sep 4 (PTI) Sri Lankan Naval personnel allegedly took away fish catch and mobile phones of 22 fishermen from here while they were fishing near Katchatheevu island. They were part of a group of about 300 fishermen who had gone out to sea in 50 boats yesterday near Katchatheevu when Lankan Navalmen entered their five boats and took away their fish catch and mobile phones, fisheries department sources said. more..